19 March 2012

This Is How You Write a Story About Israeli Film in 30 Easy Steps

Tomer (left) and Barak Heymann
As the title promises, this post is about how one goes about writing a story about Israeli film. Let's get on to it, shall we?

  1. First, you should start by deciding in the fall semester you will do your story about Batsheva Dance Company, which you have not seen perform in 10 years. 
  2. Become involved with the organization of  the Israeli film festival nearest at hand. This will lead you to blog nearly constantly about Israeli film and spend all your aimless Internet time on IMDb, watching trailers, and (not really!!) stalking Israeli directors and producers.
  3. Hey, why don't you start screening Israeli movies with friends in your living room every other week while you're at it...
  4. Gradually, gradually, the realization you are feeling not as enthusiastic as you should to sustain a 2,500-word story about Batsheva accretes in your consciousness. Tamp it down purposefully, stub it out. Will this feeling out of existence. You must write about Batsheva. You are a Batsheva evangelist. There is a wider population of American dance fans completely unaware of their awesomeness; you cannot leave them in their sordid philistinism. Batsheva needs you. Woman up, already!
  5. Besides, what else could you possibly do your story about?
  6. Oh! Right! 
  7. Pitch your story to Deborah Blum in class as an alternative to the Batsheva story as clumsily as possible. Do you have any contacts in the Israeli film industry, she asks. No, you do not. Well, what is your story about? That's sort of unclear, it turns out. She kind of greenlights your story. 
  8. Email the Israeli Consulate, UW Cinematheque director, and Esty Dinur asking (read: begging) them for suggestions and contacts.
  9. Look up Dani Menkin's movies when the Israeli Consulate suggests him. Google him. Come up with no contact info no matter what you try. Though, he is a 3rd-degree contact on LinkedIn. But is he really going to respond to a 3rd-degree contact on LinkedIn? I mean, would you?
  10. Email the Israeli Consulate again whining for his contact info.
  11. Send an email to Dani Menkin's agency because that's what the Israeli Consulate gave you.
  12. Get no response from Dani Menkin's agency. Subsequently, start digging around the university where he's an artist-in-residence.
  13. Begin composing an email to the communications person in the school in which his residency is located. Procrastinate sending it.
  14. Finally send the email. The communications person in school A responds almost immediately telling you she doesn't work with him and that you should try the communications person in school B at the same university.
  15. You cannot restrain yourself from pointing out that both school A and school B have film programs in your reply thanking the school A flack for school B flack's email. (You know this because you were admitted to the Television-Radio-Film department in school A several years ago--though, there's no reason to mention this in your email. So, you don't.)
  16. Email school B flack requesting an interview with Dani Menkin. 
  17. When school B flack replies with the email of the professor who works with the residency, email that professor toute de suite. 
  18. At the same time, hear from Esty Dinur with a director's phone number.
  19. Check out Esty's director's IMDb page. See that he has directed Clara Khoury. This is an appropriate time to freak out utterly and completely, firing off a nearly incoherent email to your advisor. You're too intimidated to call him.
  20. Post-freak out, see that the residency professor has given you Dani Menkin's email address. Shilly-shally for about one work day before sending him an email. 
  21. Timidly email Dani Menkin. When he replies, attempt to hash out a time you will call him.
  22. One day at work, happen onto the Heymann Brothers' website. Be amazed by what you read about their documentaries about Aviv Geffen, Batsheva, and the Idan Raichel Project. Excitedly email them requesting an interview. 
  23. The next day, write a blog post about them. In a fever of self-promotion, email the post to the Heymann Brothers' office, as well.
  24. Watch The Band's Visit. Before you do, muse that the Heymanns could be getting back to you as soon as tomorrow since Sunday is a work day in Israel.
  25. Thus, don't be too surprised when you see that their office manager has replied to your interview request. Hey, you're pretty good at this new media stuff!
  26. Spend the next six or so days arranging a time to interview Tomer Heymann. This will include: renting Paper Dolls so you have some sort of clue about his oeuvre, registering for Skype, emailing the office manager Nevo, getting your tech together, etc.
  27. You are really feeling the Israeli culture. That "novel" set in Israel you were revising during winter holiday but had to stop working on even though it gave you a tremendous amount of joy because the semester came crashing down on you like so many piles of bricks? Your muse is back. Start nailing down your outline. Hee-eyyy!
  28. Rise at 3AM and call Tomer. Wait. They haven't started daylight saving time in Israel yet!?? But Gil told you they had!! Well, shit. Go back to bed.
  29. Get up 45 minutes later. Finally call Tomer at about half past 4AM. He is pretty much just like the interviews of him you've seen. Talk for about half an hour.
  30. Write what might be your lead.
  31. TBD...


  1. Yeah Courtney! Glad to hear this story is finding its groove! I had a similar epiphany this weekend :)

  2. Whoot whoot - sounds like you've found your groove on this story! Glad to hear it!


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